Month: August 2011

Summary of August 2011 Board Meeting

 

Budget

 

Ashworth Mansions’ financial year commences 30 September. The board set the budget for the 2011/12 year. The main service charge will rise by 6.5% to £298K. The increase is almost entirely due to an increase in our insurance premium from £64K TO £78K. The central heating charge is unchanged at £58K.

 

Major works contributions are unchanged at £325K, split between the reserve fund contribution (which rises from £150K to £175K) and the third of four special annual contributions to fund the current refurbishment of the estate. This will be £150K.

 

We can never be sure about future bills but it is our intention that the fourth special contribution in September 2012 will be of a similar level. We will exit the fourth phase in 2013 with very little money in the reserve fund. The board will then need to decide how to set up the long term funding arrangements the estate

 

It was agreed to circulate a special note to flat owners regarding the budget.

 

Kfh hope to have the necessary software to accept service charge payments by direct debit but not until 2012.

 

Mains water supply

 

28 flats have that connected to the new water mains and we are still receiving queries from owners who are looking to connect. The old tanks, situated above each stairwell need to be decommissioned as soon as we can to avoid unnecessary expense. They are close to the end of their life and it would cost £80K to replace them. It was agreed to write to flat owners to encourage them to connect.

 

The lagging of the new system is often in poor repair (it being over 10 years old) and has perished completely in some places, notably on the roofs. Kfh have been asked to obtain quotes to replace.

 

Central heating and hot water

 

Peter Ellis, the consultant commissioned to produce a report, has attended site and has visited 13 flats.  His report will be ready by 29th August. We will hold a flat owners meeting towards the end of September to discuss options for the communal system. The previous report (from 2010) being not fit for purpose, it was agreed not to pay the invoice.

 

The owners of one flat have complained that their towel rail (fed from the hot water) is not working. Quotehedge have been to see if they could get it working and have vented the system but have not been successful.  They have suggested that it is probably due to the fact that the pressure of the hot water is slightly reduced due to the recent pipe leaks but are unwilling to increase it given the likely leaks elsewhere.   They have said that there also may be some debris in the pipe.  We would like to hear from any other flat owners with similar problems.

 

Individual flats

 

In one ground floor flat, the loss adjustors have approved work required to remedy a damp problem beneath the shower but have not yet been to inspect the area beneath the lounge.

 

In another ground floor flat, a damp problem has finally been resolved satisfactorily.

 

The owner of another flat has complained that, since the removal of asbestos from the bike sheds, the walls of the kitchen are too warm. SHW has inspected the flat and taken temperature readings. We await their report.

 

Another flat has a broken window that could be dangerous. It was agreed to ask the owner to repair it immediately or we would get a contractor to board it up.

 

On one flat, we have asked the structural engineer to monitor some cracking. This flat also has a sloping floor and we have asked a contractor to will go in and assess whether or not the previous joist renewal undertaken by the owner’s contractor was adequate.

 

Repairs

Remedial work is almost complete to the top floor landing of block 4 following the flood of water through the roof from a blocked gulley.  An insurance claim has been lodged and DBR (whose fault it was) has agreed to settle the excess as part of the specification for the major works was to check and clear the roof gulleys.

 

Major works

 

The 2nd phase major works contract (Grantully Road) has commenced and Directors have met with the surveyor and contractors on site to discuss some repair and structural issues. The project is on budget but is expected to be delayed due to an unexpected amount of labour required. The good news is that the materials bill will be lower than budgeted.

 

The work to replace the vault doors on the lower ground level on the Elgin Avenue side will start shortly. It has been delayed as we have found a significantly cheaper contractor for this small job.

 

There are still some issues outstanding from the Elgin Avenue refurbishment, notably around the link bridges. This will need to be dealt with before we release the retention monies on the contract.

 

It was agreed to ask SHW to draw up the specification for phase three of the works (the rear of the Elgin Avenue block) but to also include the lightwells within blocks one and five. We envisage this work commencing in Spring 2012.

 

Fire risk assessment

 

The last fire risk assessment took place in 2007. Since requirements and legislation have changed it was agreed to conduct another one at a cost of £525 plus VAT.

 

Update from the surveyors on Grantully Road refurbishment

Progress Update:

We are pleased to report that the works are progressing well, and largely in line with the contractors programme, although we are currently anticipating a slight project over-run of approximately 2 weeks due to the extent and amount of external fabric repair works currently being undertaken.  We will obviously keep you advised in this regard.

Detailed below is a brief summary of the main elements of works currently being undertaken:

–       Scaffolding works: Completed to all elevations;

–       Brickwork & Stone work Cleaning: Cleaning works are 80% complete, with the Grantully Road elevation expected to be completed by close of play 19th August.  Cleaning works will then commence to the Biddulph Road & Ashworth Road elevations, which will involve the installation of temporary protection to the affected windows.  A final wash down will be undertaken following completion of the brickwork repairs;

–       Brickwork & stonework repairs (including brick face replacement, repointing and reforming the defective stonework): These are ongoing are anticipated to be completed by end of September;

–       Pipework repairs: These are ongoing and anticipated to be completed within the next 2 weeks;

Window Repair & Redecoration:

Timber repairs are currently being undertaken to the windows contained in blocks 10-9, along with primary redecoration works to bring forward defects.

If extensive timber repairs/replacements are required to be undertaken which require access to your premises then DBR will contact you direct.  Upon completion of these preliminary works, DBR will require the windows serving your property to be left open for a period of time during normal working hours Monday to Friday to facilitate painting of the leading edges etc. in accordance with the specification.

The works will be undertaken in phases and commence on the following flats / dates as detailed below:

Block 10 (Containing Flats 84 – 93)

–       Works commencing 29th August 2011 and DBR will therefore access to your windows serving your property for the week;

Block 9 (Containing Flats 75 – 83)

–       Works commencing 5th September 2011 and DBR will therefore access to your windows serving your property for the week;

Blocks 6-8 will be advised of the proposed dates for the repair and redecoration works in due course.

Although we appreciate that providing access for the contractors requested period may be inconvenient, we would once again politely request that access arrangements are made to enable the contractor to undertake the full repairs.  Please note for insurance purposes, your flat should not be left unattended during this requested period.

Without access being made available, the contractors may need to either:

–       Carry out timber repairs from externally only (where possible) & paint the windows in the closed position, or;

–       If it is not possible to complete timber repairs without opening the window, (i.e. if timber sections need replacing), then as agreed with the Ashworth Mansions Ltd., board, DBR reserve the right to not undertake repair & redecoration works to the window in question and the resident will have to make own arrangements at their own cost.

–       These access issues may also have a detrimental affect on the programme of works and may result in additional costs if the scaffolding is retained for longer than originally programmed.

–       Please note: The contractors, DBR will not be responsible for easing windows that have been painted shut once the contract is complete.

Project Team Contact Details:

In addition to the above, we also write to advise of a change of site foreman for the remainder of the project.  Danny Shaw will be your site manager for the remainder of the contract, his contact details, along with the project team are as follows:

–       Danny Shaw  – DBR (London) Ltd. – Site Manager

  • Mobile No.: 07731 745 743

–       Nick Herridge – SHW – Contract Administrator:

  • Mobile No.: 07885 743 201;

–       Robert Handley – SHW – Assistant Contract Administrator:

  • Mobile No.: 07715 403 825;

–       David Lucas – DBR (London) Ltd. – Contracts Manager:

  • Mobile No.: 07887 737 345;

Fortnightly Resident Meetings:

As previously discussed, SHW/DBR are holding fortnightly Leaseholder/Resident ‘drop in’ site meetings at 8.00am in the Contractors welfare facilities, which are to be contained within the store adjacent the Boiler Room contained in Block 1.

The meetings will be held on the following dates:

–       Wednesday 31st August @ 8.00am;

–       Wednesday 14th September @ 8.00am;

–       Wednesday 28th September @ 8.00am;

–       Wednesday 12th October @ 8.00am;

–       Wednesday 26th October 2011 @ 8.00am;

These meetings will be an opportunity for leaseholders/residents to discuss any queries direct with the project team and your attendance would be welcomed.

Security:

Just to remind you that access to the site and scaffold is secure and closely monitored, and all site based contractors are wearing clothing with DBR emblazoned logo’s etc., however we would ask that you are vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to the site manager immediately.

As detailed above, DBR will require intermittent access to your property, however this will be organised through the site manager and you should not allow access to contractors without prior agreement.  If you are in any doubt, we would ask that you contact any of the project team detailed above.

Scaffolding:

We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you again that the scaffolding is a work place and thus unauthorised access if not permitted onto these working platforms at any time. In addition your extra vigilance would be appreciated to ensure that children or animals do not access the scaffolding at any period.

Personal Items:

Although we note and appreciate that many of you have removed personal items from the balcony areas etc., there are still some possessions remaining on the balcony and these should be removed to prevent any damage during the course of the works.  The contractor will not be held liable for any damage caused by failure to remove such items.

Nick Herridge and his colleague Robert Handley, are continuing to undertake regular site inspections of the works however in the mean time, should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact either of them at SHW.

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